Book: ‘Half-Bads in White Regalia: A Memoir’ By Cody Cayetano – Editor’s Note

Posted on 05 June 2022.

A family tries to learn from the mistakes of past generations in this whirlwind of memoirs with a whole new voice.

The Caetano family’s move to a doomed house in Happy Land Village on the highway before an inevitable divorce pulls Cody’s parents in separate directions. After discovering the Anishinaabe family and the origin story of the 1960s Scoop, his mother, Mindemoy, embarks on a series of fraught relationships and new beginnings. His father, O Touro, a Portuguese immigrant and homeless, reverts to a “big work, little thought” behaviour, despite his best intentions.

Left alone at home in Happyland, Cody and his siblings have to fend for themselves, even when the pipes burst, and the lights go out. His protective older sister, Chris, finds creative ways to put food on the table, and his older brother Julian facilitates his regular escape into the world of video games. As life moves them from one temporary solution to another, they steal moments of joy and resist bowing under the temptations of the “bad guys” in abundance.

Capturing the chaos and wonder of his precarious childhood, Cody Cayetano delivers his dream of coming of age embellished with his own slang. Half-villains in White Regalia It is a memorable appearance that reveals a family history intertwined with warmth, humor and deep generosity.

“Memoirs are a tough chemistry for testimony and recognition, scene-making and character building. They have to smooth out the hard stuff and show the way at every turn—or at least they have to—and that’s what Cody Cayetano does. Half-villains in White Regalia. Nobody gets away easily, but everyone is attracted by unwavering love and respect. Nothing looks absolutely gorgeous, but everything turns out to see its beauty. Poetry permeates this prose, poetry, this unique voice and style that somehow made me laugh and cry a lot and in the most unusual places. Read it. You will not regret. I tell you.”
Katharina Vermetauthor strangers

“A wonderful and devastating start. This book rushes toward difficult understandings about love, violence, and family. Sometimes I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, but Caetano fills every moment with such character and humanity that it’s impossible not to fall in love.”
Jordan Abelauthor nigga

“It’s rare that you meet a narrator, who, from the first page, is so clear in voice and character. Half-villains in White Regalia He paints a wonderful life, filled with a constellation of characters with kinship, but it’s really the wonderfully mastered speaker that makes this book stand out. Cayetano sometimes appears sluggish and conceited, sometimes practically hard-boiled, but he dares to rise to the challenge of learning his life. This is a book that enriches the craft of memoir and the narration of life.”
Jenny Hyejun Wells, author the elder sister. Not necessarily related.

“Cody Caetano tells a tale very similar to the Ojibway storytellers. Rich in metaphor, plot and some very serious comedy, it makes the reader eager to write.”
Lee Markleauthor My conversations with Canadians

“reading Half-villains in White Regalia It seems like one of those rare and transcendent friendships that forms in an evening and lasts a lifetime, and to me it’s a great telltale sign. Caetano’s charming and sparkling prose invites you to a mind that bears witness to its early development and wild genetics. It’s an absolute triumph among the debutants and from a worthy descendant of voices like Maya Angelou and Mary Carr. I know I will carry the wonder of her childhood and her tender resilience with me for many years to come.”
Liz Howardauthor Messages in the bruised universe

About the author

Cody Caetano He is a writer of Anishinaabian and Portuguese descent and an out-of-reserve member of the Pinaymootang First Nation. He received his MA in Creative Writing from the University of Toronto, where he wrote these memoirs under Lee Maracle. excerpts from Half-villains in White Regalia He received the 2020 Indigenous Voices Award for his unpublished prose.

Book details

Title: Half-villains in the White Regalia: A Memoir

author: Cody Caetano

publisher: Hamish Hamilton

date of publication: May 31, 2022

language: English language

Paperback: 280pp

an interview

“Our stories are looking for people to blog about”: A conversation with Cody Caetano – catapult